People shrug off email outreach as unwanted spam. But, in reality, it can be very effective at establishing connections.
In fact, in a little over a year, we have booked our Co-Founder, Farzad Rashidi as a podcast guest on over 100 shows – with only a thousand emails sent in total.
That’s a 10% success rate – and a podcast booking for every single week over almost two years.
Let’s get into our exact strategies.
Link building cheat sheet
Our Approach to Booking Podcasts
Our outreach strategy is straightforward: find other SaaS founders and prominent names in the industry, and then find podcasts that they have been featured on.
Then, our outreach manager would reach out to the podcast host and ask if they could introduce Farzad. If the host agrees, Farzad will get copied into the thread to take things from there.
Our favorite goldmine is the SaaS Podcast with Omer Khan:
As of writing this article, it has 383 published podcasts with founders, executives, and entrepreneurs from across the world.
Now, some have made several appearances on the show so this doesn’t translate into 383 unique names, but still, there are at least 300 different people who came on Omer’s show.
And each one of those people more likely than not has appeared on other podcasts as well.
To find other shows they’ve been on, we use our tool, Respona.
More specifically, our Podcast search engine:
It is powered by ListenNotes (which is updated every day), providing us with access to the most accurate and up-to-date database of podcasts.
The “Episodes” mode will search for podcasts that mention our target keywords – which would be the names of Omar’s guests.
The search engine can also run multiple queries simultaneously, so for a decently sized campaign, we can paste ~30 names and run the search.
Depending on how many shows they’ve been on, we ended up with anywhere between 100-500 podcast opportunities, within an hour or two.
Next, we set up some minimal filters to only show episodes that were published last year and have at least some listen scores (to filter out less popular podcasts).
According to Listen Notes, Listen Score is a metric that shows how popular a podcast is in relation to other podcasts, on a scale from 0-100 – similar to Nielsen ratings.
Let’s click “Continue” and walk through some additional settings.
The first one is pre-set to find relevant podcast contacts associated with your target podcasts. It’s automatically set to find the right podcasts hosts, so no need to change anything here.
The second one relates to AI personalization.
We use the latest available version of ChatGPT, and “ask” it to use short sentences, limit commas, and keep the reading level as simple as possible – and, of course, include opportunity summaries in the prompt.
With this setup, Respona will “listen” to the podcast and make personalizations for you. More on that later.
Last but not least, we also like to enable recurring searches. With this option, Respona will automatically rerun the search and pull any new podcasts released into our podcast outreach campaign.
Just click “Continue”, then “Run Automation” and wait for results.
Our outreach email template is as follows:
[icebreaker about the episode Omar’s guest was on]
Shared the episode with our team here at Respona to try it out this year. I’ll also drop a link to the podcast in our next newsletter :)
I’m wondering if you’d be open to being introduced to someone I know in the SaaS space.
Been a listener of the [podcast name] and love every single episode you put out!
And here’s an example of a personalized pitch that landed Farzad a podcast appearance.
Let’s break it down a bit.
First up, the subject line: “Episode #”.
It’s short, to the point, and personalized.
Just by glancing over it, our recipient will immediately understand that the email is about one of their podcast episodes, and be intrigued to give it an open.
Alternatively, if the episode doesn’t have a number, just tweak it to “Episode with [Guest Name]” or “Your interview with [Guest Name]”.
Also, no fluff.
Next up, is the icebreaker in the opening line.
Here, mentioning something that was discussed during the podcast shows that we’re not some random Joe who’s sending everybody spam emails.
We use AI-powered fields to automatically generate icebreakers. But if you don’t have access to that, you can simply listen to the episode and come up with something interesting they talked about during the episode.
It shows that we spent the time to at least get familiar with the topics discussed.
Next up, just that tiny bit of flattery by mentioning that we shared the episode internally. It’s realistic, and not going over the top with the pleasantries, like some other emails can.
Next up – the point of the email, or the “ask” – which is to inquire about whether or not they’d be open to an introduction to someone in the SaaS space (which, of course, is Farzad).
This template works because it’s a good balance of personalization, straightforwardness, and flattery.
There are two types of positive responses we would get.
The first one (like this one), is open to an introduction, and a potential podcast interview:
It’s perfect. From here on, just copy Farzad into the thread, book a time, and do the podcast.
Now, you could do your outreach and book yourself directly, but that’s just how we did it at our company – with the help of an outreach manager.
The second type of reply we would get is asking for more information:
- Who we would like to introduce
- Why do we want to introduce them
- Why we think they’re an ideal guest
This would add a step to the conversation, which we have also templated:
We would just provide some more information, and if the person says yes to an introduction – that would be the green light.
If not, no need to press the issue.
That’s our approach to booking podcasts from beginning to end.
Doing exactly this every week, we got Farzad booked on a little over 100 podcast episodes on 74 unique shows.
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into the numbers and some additional nitty-gritty.
How long did we do outreach?
The first podcast pitch we sent was on July 12, 2022.
The last one was sent on August 8, 2023.
So, almost exactly 13 months.
How many emails did we send weekly?
Every week, our outreach manager had a simple goal – send 50 good podcast booking pitches.
However, it wasn’t a set-in-stone rule. Some weeks they would send 50, others 100, others only 10.
Also, some of their weeks they were focused on other tasks, so skipped the outreach process entirely.
How many emails did we send in total?
In total, over 13 months, we sent exactly 1,000 pitches.
Out of those pitches, 270 were follow-up messages.
This means, roughly a third of our bookings came as a direct result of a sent follow-up email.
What were the open/reply rates like?
- Average Delivery rate: 97%
- Total Opens: 685
- Avg Open rate: 61%
- Total replies: 167
- Reply rate: 24.3%
What’s the best day and time to send a podcast booking email?
In our experience, the best time to pitch a podcast (both by replies and opens) is on a Friday at around 4 PM – when our podcaster host is mostly finished with the week and can spare a few minutes reading through their social media and checking emails.
Remember – to book podcasts, you need to be human in your outreach.
Be direct, genuine, and sparkle in a bit of personalization – just enough to show you spent time on your research.
And when it comes to the actual outreach, it comes down to precision and consistency.
Laser-target the shows that would be a good fit for you by finding other prominent figures within your niche and episodes featuring them, finding email addresses, and not being afraid to be direct.
If you need help booking podcasts as a potential guest, don’t hesitate to start your 14-day free trial with Respona to see how we can help.
Link building cheat sheet